French Harpsichord Music from the 17th Century

Adam Pearl & Patrick Merrill
Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 6:00pm
Aberfoyle Pl. NW. Washington DC 20015
Program Details: 

Aberfoyle Baroque inaugurated its new series of soirées on March 29, 2015, with a program of exquisite French harpsichord music performed by Adam Pearl and Patrick Merrill.  The concert was followed by a sit-down French dinner and fine wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux.  One attendee described the event as “a magical evening”. The thrilled audience delighted in the opportunity to hear the two excellent harpsichordists up close in the intimate setting of Aberfoyle Baroque’s concert rooms. The program featured works spanning one hundred and fifty years of French musical history, from the early innovations of Louis Couperin (1626-1661) to the virtuosic showpiece La marche des Scythes by Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (1705-1755), music teacher to the children of Louis XV and a famed opera director and composer.  Attendees were enthralled by Adam Pearl’s rendition of La marche des Scythes, so much so that some audible gasps of amazement were forthcoming.  And, his beautiful touch on the ornate ornamentation in the Jean-Henri d’Anglebert Suite in G major was remarkable.  Patrick Merrill’s highly engaging performance of Jean-Baptiste Forqueray and Louis Couperin pieces showcased his highly expressive style and beautiful interpretations.

Following the performance, audience members enjoyed a question and answer session with the performers, who spoke eloquently about the harpsichord in historical context, the particular pieces they performed, and the ingenious plucking mechanism of this unfamiliar instrument.  The conversation continued throughout dinner and dessert, with the performers joining audience members at the table for a lively discussion of music and more.        

Performers at Aberfoyle Baroque’s Inaugural Soiree:

We were honored to have as our first performers two outstanding artists from the Mid-Atlantic region.  Adam Pearl is an award-winning early keyboard specialist and director.  He is a member of the Early Music faculty at the Peabody Conservatory.  He has been principal harpsichordist for Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare since 2005 and performs regularly with other major early music ensembles.  Adam is a laureate of the 2001 Jurow and 2004 Bruges international harpsichord competitions. 

Patrick Merrill recently completed a graduate degree in harpsichord at Peabody Conservatory, following an undergraduate degree there in Piano Performance.  Patrick begins his doctorate studies in harpsichord performance at Peabody in September 2015, where he is a recipient of the new Peabody Dean’s DMA Fellowship.  He is on the faculty of the Department of Music at George Washington Music.

An Evening of French 17th Century Harpsichord Music


François Couperin (1668-1733)
Allemande – L’exquise

Jean-Henri d’Anglebert (1629-1691)
Suite in G Major
Chaconne en rondeau

Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699-1782)
Allemande – La Laborde
La Morangis ou La Plissay


Louis Couperin (1626-1661)

Gaspard le Roux (c. 1660-1707)
Suite in F Major

Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (1705-1755)
La sensible
La marche des Scythes


Adam Pearl

Award-winning early keyboard specialist and director Adam Pearl is in demand as a performer of both solo and ensemble music.  He has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe, South America and Asia.  He has been principal harpsichordist for Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare since 2005 and also performs with ensembles such as Chatham Baroque, the Folger Consort, the Catacoustic Consort, the American Bach Soloists, the Bach Sinfonia, Modern Musick and various modern symphony orchestras.  He has recorded on the Chandos, Dorian and Plectra labels.  A lover of Baroque opera, Pearl has directed numerous productions with American Opera Theater and Peabody Chamber Opera.  From the Keyboard, he has led performances of Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Cavballi’s La Calisto and La Didone, Montedverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Charpentier’s David et Jonathas and La descente d’Orphée aux enfers, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Giulio Cesare and fully staged productions of Messiah and Jephtha.  Pearl is a member of the Early Music faculty at the Peabody Conservatory and has taught at various early music workshops, including the Amherst Early Music Festival, the Madison Early Music Festival and the Rocky Ridge Music Festival.  He holds the degrees of BM in piano performance and both MM and DMA in harpsichord performance, all from the Peabody Conservatory.  He is a laureate of the 2001 Jurow and 2004 Bruges international harpsichord competitions.

Patrick Merrill

Baltimore native Patrick Merrill completed his undergraduate degree in piano performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in the studio of Ms. Yong Hi Moon.  In 2008, he was given first prize at the Marian Garcia Piano Competition, and in 2012 he won the Maryland state division of the Music Teachers’ National Association Piano Competition.  A Baroque enthusiast, Mr. Merrill recently completed a Master’s degree at Peabody in harpsichord with Dr. Adam Pearl.  As a harpsichordist he has participated in masterclasses with Davitt Moroney and Trevor Pinnock on antique instruments, served as accompanist at the Amherst Early Music Winter Workshop and the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, has made appearances with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and plays with the Baltimore-based early music ensemble S’amusant.  As of 2014, Mr. Merrill serves on the faculty of the department of music at the George Washington University, teaching harpsichord and coaching Baroque ensembles.  For the past two years, he has assisted Professor Clinton Adams in the ear training department and served as accompanist of the choral ensembles under Ed Polochick.  Mr. Merrill is a recipient of the new Peabody Dean’s DMS Fellowship, and recently began his doctorate studies in harpsichord performance.

Photo Gallery
Bach: Concerto in D minor for 3 Harpsichords, BWV 1063. Arthus Haas, Davitt Moroney & Adam Pearl